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Uses

Toxic parts

Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides[1]. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage[2]. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element[1].

Edible uses

Notes

A source of a high quality gum tragacanth - used as a thickener in confections, salad dressings, sauces etc[3][4][5][6][7][8]. It is an approved additive to food and has the E number E413[9]. Some of the gum exudes naturally from the root and from damaged stems[10], more can be obtained by incision of the stem about 5cm below ground level[6].

Unknown part

Gum

Material uses

Gum tragacanth is obtained from the stem (see above). It has a wide range of uses including:- a thickening agent in preparing dyes for calico printing, textile dyes and for dressing fabrics, it is also a thickener in making glues, water colours, ink (where it supplies a gloss), it is a binding agent in paper making, a culture medium in laboratories etc[6][11]. Both the stems and the gum can be burnt as a fragrant incense[12].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The gum obtained from the root and stem is demulcent, though it is not often used internally because it is not completely soluble[4]. This gum has recently been shown to stimulate the immune system and to suppress tumours[9]. The gum has long been employed externally as a dressing for burns and is also used in lozenges in order to bind the ingredients and impart consistency to the product[4].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nitrogen fixer

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[13]. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate[13]. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing - but make sure that you do not cook the seed[14][13]. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours[14][13]. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 - 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh[14]. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Astragalus gummifer. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position[15][9]. Succeeds in poor soils[13]. Tolerates a pH in the range 3.2 to 7.8.

This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[9]. Whilst it is likely to tolerate low temperatures it may not be so happy with a wet winter. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small[13]. This plant is a sub-shrub and although it produces woody stems these tend to die back almost to the base each winter.

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[13]. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil[13].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Astragalus gummifer. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Astragalus gummifer.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Astragalus gummifer
Genus
Astragalus
Family
Leguminosae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
8
Heat Zone
?
Water
low
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
    7. ? 7.07.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.49.5 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.413.513.613.7 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.2 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    15. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)